APRIL 18, 2000 -- It has all now been done, and most of it has been said. Some closing comments and a brief post-op synopsis are therefore in order.
Sorry, no gory details, no itemized list of pains. If anyone reading this is contemplating the procedure and would like the details, please contact me!
As you can tell from the photos on the previous pages (and also from the lack of any "bad news"), the surgery went as expected. In hindsight, it (the actual surgery and subsequent recovery) was more boring than anything else.
Arriving at the hospital at 4 a.m. on the 31st left a lot of time to sit and wait (OK, lie and wait). Pre-op procedures -- hooking up IVs, signing the last paper work, last consult with the anesthesiologist -- chewed up a couple of hours and I arrived in a pre-op holding area around 7:30, one hour prior to surgery.
Wheeled into the O.R. at 8:30 (right on time), I recall being significantly impressed by the thousands of folks in the O.R. (OK, closer to 10, but it sure seemed like a lot). Next conscious thought: waking up in recovery and asking how many holes (five holes is good, one large slice would have been bad), re-assured to find out that all went according to plan. Many aches and pains, but nothing that strong doses of mid altering drugs could not handle.
Red Jell-O and orange ice are vivid highlights of Friday along with a memorable walk up and down the hall (please don't drop the catheter bag!). John made it back to his room late Friday night. I recall seeing him wheeled in ... major relief!
Saturday, more drugs, more walks up and down the hall, more Jell-O, followed by more drugs. A guy could get used to this if it were not for the catheter.
Sunday was a major improvement over Saturday, with the prospect of a p.m. release making the day seem much brighter.
They turned me loose early Sunday evening, a quick wheelchair ride over to an apartment attached to he hospital, where (yes, this is true) I cajoled Patty into supporting me as I made a not-quick circuit of the 440 track across the street from the apartment. A world-record time of 18 minutes! The road to recovery begins with a single circuit of the track.
Patty went home Monday morning; John bailed from the hospital Monday afternoon.
We spent the rest of the week creeping up and down Michigan Avenue for a daily constitutional (who were those weird guys in baggy pants?), a trip to the Field Museum (preceded and followed by very painful taxi rides -- take our word for it, pot holes hurt!). We were suitably unimpressed by the lions of Tsavo (the lions in The Ghost and the Darkness were a product of artistic license).
And then, Friday. Time to head for home. A jarring limo ride to Midway (not good), a very delayed flight back to Columbus (not good), many thunderstorms in route (bouncy -- not good), Patty and Amelia at the gate (good).
Recovery will most likely be significantly slower than I would like. I'm rather impatient, but compared to what could have been (a non-laproscopic removal), the future is bright. I have been back at work on a regular basis. Minimal use of pain killers. I hope to pick up the triathlon training soon. First major race is a long distance one scheduled for August 19 (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run). See you there...
Loads of people to thank for support: The "spare parts" folks at Northwestern, Patty and Amelia for putting up with me on days that are not as good as others, all of you who emailed, wrote, and telephoned. The list goes on.
Many times I had jokingly asked John when I could expect to receive the check (hey, kidneys are not free). The usual response was that it was in the mail.
In a sense, it was in the mail. But, it was a card, covertly placed in my backpack, and not discovered by me until I was at Midway, waiting to board my flight back to Columbus. It is much better than any check, as it has a value to me that can never be calculated. The text is below.
Aside from all the joking and all the pain, you really are my hero.
I'll never be able to thank you for what you have done for me. From the very beginning you told me there was nothing to worry about and I believed you.
You helped me survive this in more ways than you can imagine.
i love you,
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